Every person can appreciate a good night’s sleep but how many of us regularly get one? By sleeping too little or too much, you could be putting yourself at risk for serious health issues.

insomniaA review of several sleep studies published in the journal Sleep concluded that persons sleeping too little or too much live shorter lives than those who slept an average of 7-9 hours a night. An inadequate amount of sleep has been linked to health issues involving multiple body systems, such as kidneys, heart, lungs, metabolism, immune system and brain function.

One study involving 24,000 Japanese women found that those sleeping less than six hours a night were at a higher risk for developing breast cancer. Another study by the University of Cleveland found that men sleeping less than six hours a night were at a higher risk for developing potentially cancerous colorectal polyps.

Too much sleep has also been found to be detrimental to a person’s health. Studies have found that person’s sleeping more than 9 hours a night have a higher risk for developing health issues like obesity, type II diabetes, back pain, depression and heart disease.

How much should we sleep?? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adults sleep between 7 and 9 hours a night, teenagers sleep 8.5-9.5 hours a night and children ages 5-10 sleep 10-11 hours per night.

If you’re sleeping too much or not enough, here are some ways to put yourself back in the optimal range:

  • Regular exercise has been shown to improve sleep
  • Avoid eating before bed because this may trigger acid reflux
  • Avoid caffeine, smoking and alcohol before bed as they can disrupt sleep patterns
  • Taking a hot shower, bath or sauna before bed
  • If you’re tossing and turning, get up and do something else until you feel sleepy. Laying in bed worrying about not being able to sleep can cause even greater sleep problems!
  • Turn off the lights. It has been shown in studies that complete darkness (or near to) aids in a more restful night’s sleep
  • Consider a “sound machine.” The added white noise will help drown out any distracting sounds
  •  If other methods aren’t working for you, consider the supplement melatonin; a natural, non-addictive sleep aid.
  • Have your hormones tested since out-of-balance hormones can cause sleep disturbances. Ask our office about our bio-identical hormone replacement therapy program.